Cougars make a wish come true

Aug 22, 2013 - Posted by knielsen on August 22, 2013 at 1:03 pm

By Justin Green

The BYU women’s soccer team did its part to help fulfill the wishes of Amber Rasmussen, a 13-year-old from Draper, Utah, who is recovering from a liver transplant. Amber and her family visited the team at the fall sports Cougar Kick-off on Wednesday night.

“We feel honored to be a part of this for Amber,” head women’s soccer coach Jennifer Rockwood said.  “We're excited that she's making a full recovery and that we get to be a part of that.”

As Amber arrived, she was greeted by the entire team and was presented a signed ball, a team jersey, season passes for her and her family as well as a bag full of team gear. She spent much of her time at the Cougar Kick-off talking to Coach Rockwood and mingling with the players.

“They really showered her with gifts and treated her really well,” said John Rasmussen, Amber’s dad. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Though she has never been to a game, Amber has watched the team play on television and is an avid fan. Amber also loves to play soccer.

“My sister went to BYU so I have been here before,” Amber said. “I love the environment and campus and everything. I just started watching the team and really loved them.”

The BYU players loved getting to know Amber and hear her story. Senior forward Niki Fernandes was among many of the players who took the opportunity to talk to Amber and her parents.

“It’s been an amazing experience,” Fernandes said. “Just being able to spend time with her and even just make her day, it’s been awesome. It’s been amazing just to make her smile.”

During the event the Rasmussen family joined BYU marketing representative Weston Wride on stage to receive another special announcement. Amber and her family received a cruise to the Bahamas from the Make-A-Wish foundation. The Make-A-Wish foundation has granted 140 wishes in Utah so far this year after granting 161 last year.

“I’m just way excited,” Amber said. “I’m shocked.”

Amber was born with a liver disease that she has lived with for the last 13 years. She spent five months on the waiting list for a donor. The transplant went smoothly and her recovery has been perfect thus far.

“It was scary as a family to go through, but she was only in the hospital for a week, the quickest they had ever had,” said Ann Rasmussen, Amber’s mom. “They attributed it to soccer. We just feel really lucky and so blessed.”

The Cougars women’s soccer team open the 2013 campaign at home this Friday night against Cal State Fullerton at 7 p.m., a game that Amber and her family plan on attending.